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Vector City Horizon in Illustrator

 1 - In Illustrator, create a “New Document”.

2 - Go to View > Rulers > Show Rulers (Command/Control + R).

3 - Go to Illustrator > Preferences > Units… (Command/Control + ,) and make sure you are using “Pixels”. Then in the “General” Tab set the “Keyboard Increment” to 1 px.

4 - Click and drag down from the Top Ruler to the Center of the document to create a “Guide” roughly in the middle of it to mark the “Horizon”.

5 - Select the “Rectangle Tool” (M), click on the Top - Left corner of your document and drag it down and right until you reach the “Guide” to create a “Rectangle” that covers the top portion of the document. Fill it with a “Linear Gradient”. You can choose the “Yellow, Orange” preset from the “Gradients Panel”.

6 - Get rid of the first two “Swatches” and drag the third all the way to the left in the “Gradient Slider”.

7 - Select the “Ellipse Tool” (L) to create a big Circle in the Top-Center of your canvas. Fill it with Yellow (we used #ffdd00).

8 - Select the “Rectangle Tool” (M) and create a second “Rectangle” covering the Top portion of the Canvas but make sure it has “NO” Fill and Stroke color. Select all your Shapes, right-click on top and choose “Make Clipping Mask”. The circle should be cut almost in half.

9 - Double-click on top of the Circle to isolate it and head to the “Appearance Panel”. Click on the “Effects” menu on the bottom - left and navigate to Stylize > Outer Glow… Use the same Yellow used to fill the Sun (#ffdd00 ), “Normal Mode”, 100% “Opacity” and a 10 px “Blur”.

10 - To exit “Isolation Mode” click on the small “Arrow” on the Top Menu” as many times as needed.

11 - “Lock” the background using the small “Padlock” icon on the left side of its Thumbnail in the “Layers Panel”. Then, create a “New Layer” by clicking on the button at the bottom of the Panel.

12 - Select the “pen Tool” (P), choose Black as “Fill” color and start drawing the outline of the city. Remember to hold the “Shift” key if you want your lines in straight “Angles”. Finish up by “closing” the Path where you started.

13 - Use the “Rectangle Tool” (M) to create small Squares, fill them with “Yellow” and place them inside the buildings to act as “Windows”.

14 - To duplicate the squares and move them in a straight line, hold the “Shift + Option/Alt” keys while dragging the shapes to the desired position. Align them evenly using the “Horizontal Distribute Center” option on your Top Menu and make sure that “Align to Selection” is selected. Or use the same options in the “Align Panel”.

15 - Right-click on top of the squares and choose “Group” then, move them down while holding the “Shift + Option/Alt” keys to duplicate them. Repeat as many times as needed to fill the Building and align them evenly using the “Vertical Distribute Center” option on your Top Menu and make sure that “Align to Selection” is selected. Or use the same options in the “Align Panel”. Just make sure that the “First” and “Last” lines are placed where you want them.

16 - Use the “Ellipse Tool” (L) to create Circular Windows to place in certain Buildings. You can also make some Rectangular Windows and Doors to complement your design.

17 - When the City is ready, select all the Windows and the City Outline and “Group” them together (Command/Control + G). Unlock the “Background” Layer.

18 - Select everything, “Copy” (Command/Control + C) and “Paste in Place” (Shift + Command/Control + V).

19 - Rotate the “Copy” so its upside down and drag it down so it looks like a reflection of the original one.

20 - Hide your “Guide” by going to View > Guides > Hide Guides (Command/Control + ;).

21 - Select everything in the Top copy and the “Background Gradient” of the Bottom copy and go to Object > Lock > Selection (Command/Control + 2).

22 - Select the “Warp Tool” (Shift + R), double-click on top of it in the “Toolbar” and modify the settings to your liking (we used: 100 px, 50 px, 0°, 30%, 2 and 10). Click “OK” and move the “Brush” from side to side on top of the Bottom copy to give the impression of Waves.

23 - Check out your work.

by @lornacane

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